Profit, Loss and Poetry

Perhaps the strangest place for me to have a poem published is the Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, a publication “dedicated to the advancement of accounting knowledge (which) provides a forum for the publication of high quality manuscripts concerning the interaction between accounting/auditing and their socio-economic and political environments.”

Steve Evans, Lecturer in English and Creative Writing at Flinders University, included one of my poems in a paper he wrote for the journal. I had to write an academic abstract to go with his paper.

The paper discusses research that shows that the incorporation of “artistic activity, such as poetry, fiction writing, music, dance, and so on” into finance and business courses can be very beneficial because “students are nudged out of typical linear thinking habits and become markedly better at problem solving, especially where unfamiliar factors are involved.”

I think the abstract and the layout go beautifully with the message of the poem. This is part of the paper:


Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

Literature and Insights

Manuscript ID: AAAJ-Mar-2012-00985

Manuscript Type: Literature and Insights

Keywords: creativity, critical thinking, office working, code of ethics, computer language, gossip



Mike Hopkins Australia



Reflection on the frustrations of working in the modern business office setting.


Fictional poem.


That the accumulation of relatively minor irritants, distractions and frustrations can have a significantly deleterious effect on the mental condition of some sensitive office workers.

Research implications

Warning signs for the potential implications for occupational health and safety of the culture and working conditions prevalent in many office environments in the 21st century.


A poet’s perspective on modern office working conditions.

Key Words

office, work, cliché, mobile phone, meetings, gossip, mission, strategic



It’s the tea room gossip that irks ya

It stings and blinds ya

With its “he said” and “she said”

And “you’ll never guess” and the bloody

“Oh my God! Oh my God!”

“What was she thinking?”

You thought at first they were all dull and grey

But it turns out the place is like a Bangkok brothel

It’s the tea room gossip that irks ya

It’s the mobile phone ring tones that needles ya

They frazzles and dulls your brain

Bleating from unattended desks

Tinny tones of the latest TV soap theme

Or over and over again some comedy show catch phrase

Possibly mildly amusing the first time

Irritating the second and then increasingly exasperating

Until you swear you’ll bring a sledgehammer in tomorrow

And smash the bloody thing to smithereens

It’s the mobile phone ring tones that needles ya

It’s the meetings that drives ya to distraction

They numbs and deadens ya

The ‘purely for decorative purposes’ agenda

The action items never to be actioned

The head spinning pointless Powerpoints

With ballistic bullets and apoplectic arrows

Meaningless as a mission statement

And sleep inducing presenters talking to the wall

It’s the meetings that drives ya to distraction

But it’s the clichés that finally does ya head in

They blisters and rips ya

As you’re listening to a heads up about world’s best practice

Getting incentivized to leap from behind the 8 ball

Through a 24 by 7 window of opportunity

Into a whole new ball game on a level playing field

Moving forward, at the end of the day

In this rapidly changing globalised environment

Yes it’s the clichés that finally does ya head in


Copyright Mike Hopkins 2012

15 thoughts on “Profit, Loss and Poetry

  1. dear god, this is great, and reminds me why i own my own business, cause it ain’t for the money, that’s for sure. i remember it all from past lives.

  2. Yep, I love this one – especially since it includes two of my all time most liable to grind my teeth away from frustration cliches (24/7 and at the end of the day.) Fantastic poem Mike.

    • Yes, 24/7 and ‘at the end of the day’. I didn’t include another one of my cringeworthy ones which is even more common “at this point in time”, and the perpetual “asteriks”.

  3. you’ve captured and caricatured everyday speech ; I know because I couldn;t help overhear a mobile phone conversation today in which OMG’s proliferated 🙂

  4. This piece summarized why I left that world behind! So well done and clever. Especially the last stanza where I cringed from the drone of every boardroom meeting. Lacking only my experience of the over used word ancillary by the regional sales manager, your poem matched my experience head on. Outstanding! Your publication was well deserved.

  5. I like this tons, especially the last part — and all it’s too true. I’m working from home these days and much happier for it. From my virtual workplace, I’m leveraging my value added, although I do need to 5S my desk. For my husband, it’s the meetings that kill him. In any case, you’ve truly captured the workplace. Very well done!

  6. Love this clever piece, Mike. God, I can’t stand ‘Moving forward’ and ‘at the end of the day’, and I’d have probably imploded if you’d included ‘at this point in time’. So thanks for saving me from a messy meltdown!

    I, too, am happy that R and I run our own show and have minimal exposure to this kind of corporate-speak.

    Well done!


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